Nominations Open for Marvin Collins Planning Awards

APA-NC’s annual awards program has changed its submittal deadline. Due to conflicts with APA’s annual National Conference and other awards programs that happen in the spring, the Awards Committee has decided to accept 2017 applications from mid-November, 2016 through January 31, 2017 instead of late spring as has been the case in the past.

The 2017 Marvin Collins Planning Awards program is the 39th such program of the North Carolina Chapter of the American Planning Association (APA-NC) recognizing agencies and individuals that have completed outstanding plans, programs, and projects, have excelled as planning students, or have made notable contributions to the planning profession. The awards represent the highest standards of achievement in the planning profession in North Carolina.

The late Marvin Collins developed the idea of an awards program in 1975 for the North Carolina Chapter of the American Institute of Planners, which preceded the NCAPA. He gained approval and assumed responsibility for establishing the program. Marvin received a Distinguished Professional Achievement Award from the NCAPA just prior to his death in 1998. In 2001, the NCAPA Executive Committee named the program in Marvin’s honor to recognize his service to the Chapter.

The Outstanding Planning Awards for Small Communities are named in honor of the late Brian Benson, who was a strong advocate of planning for small communities. Brian served as NCAPA Vice President for Professional Development in the early 1990s.

Download the nomination form for 2017.

Award Nominations Must Be Postmarked by January 31, 2017.

Award Categories

Outstanding Planning Awards

Comprehensive Planning
To a plan, program or process of unusually high merit adopted or enacted in the current or past two calendar years.

To a highly effective and/or successful plan, project or ordinance implemented or adopted in the current or past five calendar years.

Outstanding Planning Awards may be given to: Large Communities (with 2010 Census populations of 25,000 or more); Small Communities (with 2010 Census populations of less than 25,000); and communities of any size involved in Multijurisdictional or Regional Projects.

Media Award

For excellence in media coverage of planning activities. Media may include newspaper, other print coverage, television, radio, and/or Internet.

Distinguished Leadership Awards

Citizen Planner
To a nonprofessional citizen planner for an outstanding contribution to a planning program or activity.

Elected Official
To an elected official on a local governing board who has made an outstanding contribution to a planning program or activity.

Appointed Official
To an appointed official on a planning board, an appearance commission, an historic commission, or a similar board who has made an outstanding contribution to a planning program or activity.

Legislative or Administrative Official
To a legislative or administrative official at the state or federal level who has made significant efforts on legislation, rule-making, or related activities promoting planning programs or projects.

Student Awards

Graduate Student Project
For an outstanding planning project completed by a graduate student or group of graduate students.

Undergraduate Student Project
For an outstanding planning project completed by an undergraduate student or a group of undergraduate students.

Outstanding Student
To an outstanding student from each branch of the state university system which offers a degree in planning (Appalachian State University, East Carolina University, and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill) for exceptional academic studies and initiative in planning. Recipients are selected by the faculty of each university and honored at the North Carolina Annual Planning Conference.

Professional Achievement and Service Awards

Robert Reiman
Professional Achievement Award
To an APA-NC member who has contributed signifi- cantly to the planning profession through practice, teaching, or writing over a sustained time period.

Philip P. Green, Jr.
Distinguished Service Award
To an APA-NC member who has made a sustained and substantial contribution to the APA-NC and/or one of its predecessor organizations.

Chapter Service Award
To an APA-NC member who has made a significant contribution to the APA-NC Chapter over a period of three or more years.

2016 Special Theme Awards

Multidisciplinary Projects

This Special Theme award recognizes private or public development, infrastructure, or environmental projects resulting from partnerships between community planning and other professional disciplines, including, but not limited to, architecture, landscape architecture, public health, hazards management, economics, climate science, and/or civil engineering. The partnership may include more than two disciplines.

The award category is intended to recognize that multidisciplinary cooperation is increasingly necessary to address the ever-more complicated problems faced by communities today. Projects that require or feature interdisciplinary collaboration as a primary means of ensuring success in project design and/or implementation are eligible for consideration under this category.

The award will go to a project that, due to multidisciplinary collaboration, resulted in:

  • cost savings;
  • more timely implementation; and/or
  • improved quality of design.

Awards may be given to projects designed or implemented in the past three calendar years.

Equitable Development Award

This Special Theme award highlights the role of smart growth in meeting the needs of underserved communities and individuals through projects, programs, and/or policies that reduce disparities while fostering places that are healthy, vibrant, and diverse. Entries might include projects that stress combinations of community revitalization efforts led by long-term residents or institutions; use of public investments to promote regional and neighborhood equity; and access to affordable housing and convenient transportation choices. Of particular interest are projects that revitalize or create innovative development in the target neighborhood or region, while demonstrating meaningful participation by residents and community-serving institutions.

Awards may be given to public agencies, non-profit organizations, and/or other community groups for projects, programs, and/or policies implemented in the current or past two calendar years.

Innovations in Planning Services, Education, and Public Involvement Award

This Special Theme award recognizes public agencies, citizen planners, and other planning professionals for the innovative use of technology, techniques, and/or processes that enhance planning, planning services, education, and/or public involvement. Awards may be given for technology, techniques, and/or processes implemented in the current or past two calendar years.

Award Selection Process Consideration of Nominations

Except as otherwise stated, the APA-NC Awards Committee will review the award nominations and select award recipients. The Awards Committee’s decisions will be made based on the quality of submissions, with consideration given to the judging criteria outlined below. Awards will not necessarily be given in every category. If the quality of submissions merits such action, the Awards Committee may give more than one award in a category and/or honorable mention recognition. Decisions of the Awards Committee are final. All award nomination materials become the property of the APA-NC, which reserves the right to display them and otherwise publicize award-winning submissions, as it may deem appropriate.

To learn more or submit a nomination, download our nomination form.

Award Nominations Must Be Postmarked by January 31, 2017. 

If you have questions about the nomination process, please contact Scott Shuford at